“Shodoshima (小豆島, ‘small beans island’) is the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and one of the first islands born to the gods in the creation myth of Japan. The name literally means ‘small bean island’, which technically refers to the azuki bean but today would more fittingly refer to the soy bean or olive as the island has traditionally been a producer of soy sauce and now is even better known for its olive plantations.
“Shodoshima attracts visitors with its Mediterranean atmosphere, offering beaches, resorts, coastal sceneries and a mountainous interior with one of Japan’s most celebrated gorges, the Kankakei Gorge. The island is also known as the filming location of a popular movie (Nijushi no Hitomi, 1954, Shochiku. Winner of the 1955 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film).
“The Kankakei Gorge (寒霞渓) is a breathtaking ravine at the center of Shodoshima Island. It is ranked as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gorges and becomes particularly spectacular during the autumn color season which usually takes place in the second half of November.
“A ropeway runs the length of the gorge between a rather basic lower station and a more developed upper station with a souvenir shop and restaurant. Both stations can be reached by car and offer parking lots. The upper station is near Shodoshima’s highest peak and has observation decks with nice panoramic views over the gorge, the island and the Seto Inland Sea.”